What kind of engine coolant should I use? It’s a frustrating question for many vehicle owners, especially those with limited knowledge of the importance of coolant. They walk into an auto parts store and find themselves in an aisle with a plethora of choices they hadn’t expected. Thankfully, the process does not have to be complicated. Many stores offer a VIN lookup, where you can find your cars make and model along with pertinent information about parts and coolant. However, there are a couple of things that can point to the right coolant without the need for such a search.
To ensure that your vehicle runs at peak performance during those frigid winter months, it is vital that you use the right antifreeze coolant. Every car is different, and it is necessary to consider the specifications of your vehicle before purchasing antifreeze. For example, diesel engines will require different coolant than standard motors, as will American, European and Asian makes and models. Therefore, it is necessary to check the owner’s manual of your vehicle for specific coolant recommendations. There are at least two conventional antifreeze products on the market.
DEX-COOL is an automaker approved coolant formula. GM recommends this antifreeze for several of its vehicle models because it exceeds industry specifications.
IAT or Inorganic Additive Technology is another coolant type that is used across several models. This coolant is widely known for its effectiveness in protecting against corrosion.
Some older vehicles will require more than a standard coolant. Cars that are more than a few decades old or ones that have higher than average mileage might benefit from coolants formulated with special additives to help old and new chemistries work together. Therefore, if you have an older vehicle, look for antifreeze that is designed for higher mileage vehicles specifically.
Coolant color can be another indicator of which type you need for your vehicle. Different chemical compositions result in different colors, which are then found to be specific to various makes and models.
The green color of some coolants is created through the use of silicates. These products are typically used in older vehicles.
The color orange is produced from the use of organic acids in OAT coolants. These products are often used in GM, VW and Saab vehicles.
Hybrid coolants are typically NAP free and appear turquoise. This type of antifreeze is most often used in high-performance vehicles, such as BMW, Tesla, Volvo, Mini and others.
- Blue or Pink
The blue or pink color often representative of P-HOAT products is due to the use of organic acids and phosphates. These products are typically used in Asian vehicles, like Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan, Honda and KIA.
The yellow color of some HOAT products comes from the use of silicates and organic acids. These coolant types are typically used in Ford, Chrysler and some European models.
While also using silicates and organic acids, purple coolants have a slightly varied chemical composition. These products are often used in high-end luxury vehicles, such as Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Audie and VW.
The easiest way to find the coolant that is right for your vehicle is to check the owner’s manual. However, if you no longer have the manual, then contact your local auto parts store.